'Globe' Compact by Pygmalion, c1951
We were delighted to come across this distinctive and highly collectable powder compact, which bears the British 'Pygmalion' brand name. Research carried out by compact expert Juliette Edwards reveals that the Pygmalion name was owned by British company S. D. Rand Ltd, which was based in London. The name was registered 'for cosmetic boxes' by Salo David Rand in late 1942, and S. D. Rand Ltd was incorporated in 1949; Rand advertisements featuring Pygmalion products appear to have ceased during the mid 1950s, making it a relatively short-lived brand. Whilst Rand applied for patents covering various well-known Pygmalion compacts (the 'Sonata' piano and the 'Dressing Table' for example), the company's focus was on designing, importing and selling compacts, rather than manufacturing them.
This particular example is one of the series of spherical Pygmalion compacts, and we can date it to approximately 1951, as the 'Globe' (as it is known) is included in a Pygmalion/Rand advertisement of February 1951 (headlined 'Latest Pygmalion Creations'). Other compacts in the series featured various patterns on their goldtone metal exteriors, but this version was embellished with an impressed map of the world (which seems especially appropriate for its shape!) The compact is designed with a flattened area on its base (allowing it to remain upright when closed), and it is opened via a sprung push-button catch at its centre. The interior shows a light-coloured plastic lining - the lid section incorporates a circular mirror (glued into place), whilst the base section features a shallow well to hold loose powder. Close examination of the plastic well reveals the inscription ' "Pygmalion" No 1960 Made in England Patent Pending'. The original fabric-edged sifter is contained within the well, and a powder puff is also present; whilst the puff is the correct circular shape, it is slightly too large to fit within the well (resting on it instead), and therefore, it can be assumed it is not original to the compact. However, the black fabric drawstring bag that belongs to this compact still accompanies it.
Country of manufacture:
Product ref: C235
Very Good. Minor powder marking to the sifter reveals that this Pygmalion compact has seen light use in the past, but it undoubtedly remains an impressive and desirable item! The goldtone metal exterior displays a truly excellent condition - it is undented and unscratched, and shows a highly polished and richly coloured finish. It is very likely to have been stored within its drawstring bag (rather than kept on a dressing table), as its flat base shows no sign of scuffing or wear. The impressed map of the world remains clearly defined, with no discolouration or marking. Even the push button catch at the front reveals minimal evidence of use. The plastic interior is clean and free from powder. The mirror reveals some small black spots, but it otherwise shows little sign of its age. The sifter has some superficial powder marks, but it remains in robust and attractive condition. The puff that was found with this compact has slight powder marking to its underside, but it too is sturdy, and its white upper layer shows a clean appearance. The catch closes firmly and securely. The drawstring bag has a few small marks here and there, but it remains intact and has certainly helped to maintain the exterior of this compact in such well-preserved condition. In our view, the Globe compact was the most striking of the spherical Pygmalion series, and apart from its collectable status, it holds appeal as a distinctive and eyecatching vintage vanity item!
Material: Goldtone metal exterior, plastic interior
Measurements: Diameter 53mm